Hokkaido is the top winter destination in Japan, home to some of the world’s best ski resorts and some of the most breathtaking snowy scenery. It may be expected, but, Hokkaido, the most wintery place in Japan, is where you can find some of the tastiest Japanese winter foods. Due to the cooler climate, a lot of the famous foods of Hokkaido are warming and hearty.
However, you may be surprised to hear that soft serve ice cream is one of the most popular foods in Hokkaido! Hokkaido is also a top summer destination, many people flock to the island to enjoy the stunning national parks and more temperate climate. Hokkaido is a great place to visit at any time of the year and people who love the outdoors are often drawn to move to Hokkaido. If this is the case for you, you may want to have a look at available apartments in Hokkaido!
Sapporo is known for its rich miso-based ramen. Sapporo ramen is usually made up of thick and hearty noodles which makes for a great meal in the cooler months. The broth can often be made from chicken, fish, or pork.
What makes Sapporo ramen so unique is that it is flavored with aka miso (red soybean paste). You can find this style of ramen across the country, but many people visit the capital of Hokkaido, excited to try the original aka miso ramen. The broth is usually topped with sweetcorn, bean sprouts, cabbage, and ground pork. Sometimes it can contain chashu and boiled eggs. Since Hokkaido is known for seafood, you can sometimes find versions of Sapporo ramen topped with local seafood such as scallops, crabs, or squid.
Ramen in Hokkaido is often served with a knob of butter because Hokkaido is the dairy capital of Japan. You may be able to find Sapporo ramen topped with some Hokkaido butter in the capital.
You can never have enough Sapporo ramen! If you find yourself in Sapporo, make sure to visit the ramen alley, Ganso Ramen Yokocho, to try some of the most delicious ramen.
Jingisukan, a barbecued lamb dish also called “Genghis Khan”, is a quintessential Hokkaido meal. Although lamb, or mutton, isn’t widely eaten across the central and southern parts of Japan, it is eaten a lot across Hokkaido.
Jingisukan is served similarly to yakiniku, however, the meat portions are much heftier. When eating it at a restaurant you will be served the raw meat, either by itself or marinated, and then you grill it on a helmet-shaped plate alongside vegetables like leeks, pumpkin, onions, cabbage, and peppers. There’s a variety of condiments you can then season Jingisukan with.
The dish is named after Genghis Khan, the Mongolian historical figure. It is enjoyed both inside restaurants and outside as a picnic. One of the most popular places to enjoy Jingisukan is at the Sapporo Beer Garden.
Seafood is one of the specialties of Hokkaido. With cold winters and seas, the fish are high in fat to survive the winter, which makes the seafood particularly delicious! Snow crabs are one of the highlights in spring, sea urchins are best eaten in summer, salmon is a popular delicacy in autumn, and in winter, yesso scallops are enjoyed by many.
Kaisendon, the Japanese traditional donburi dish, which consists of a bowl of rice topped with sashimi, is one of the most popular dishes in Hokkaido. Many visitors make sure to try Kaisendon when in Hokkaido because it is a great way of trying some the prefecture’s tastiest seafood topped with soy sauce and wasabi.
You can usually find a variety of seafood in Kaisendon; salmon, tuna, octopus, squid, crab, scallop, salmon roe, and others. However, there are also various types of kaisendon that focus instead on one seafood rather than a collection of different seafood. Unidon, for example, is a type of kaisendon that only contains sea urchins.
Soup curry is another heartwarming dish that fills the stomachs of Hokkaido locals. Soup curry is made up of a curry sauce that has been converted into a light broth. It’s packed with deep curry flavors and usually contains plenty of chunky vegetables and some meat, such as chicken legs. The aromatic herbs and spices make the dish one you’ll want to eat again and again!
Sapporo is the home of soup curry, invented by a popular restaurant called Ajanta. Although the dish has been around for about fifty years, it only became popular across the rest of Japan in the early 2000s.
You can often customize your soup curry to a spice level that suits you and you can pick out which vegetables you’d like to top the soup with.
Soft Serve Ice Cream
Hokkaido’s most popular export is dairy, thanks to the cold climate and vast countryside. You’ve probably tried Hokkaido butter, ice cream, and milk before since it is all around the country. However, there’s a reason why so many people make sure to have some of Hokkaido’s famous soft serve ice cream when in the prefecture, so we recommend trying it when you can.
The soft serve ice cream, also known as “soft cream”, tends to be a lot milkier compared to other ice creams. You can find soft cream in the traditional flavors like chocolate, match, and vanilla, however, keep a lookout for some more unusual flavors too! Orange, black squid ink, lavender, pumpkin, and melon are just some of the unique flavors of soft serve ice cream you can find in Hokkaido!
One of the many ways you can learn about somewhere is through trying some of the regional culinary delights. Whether you’re visiting the island for the first time or if you’re living in our rental apartments in Hokkaido, now is a great time to sample some of the island’s delicious dishes!